Healthy Brand Criteria

Below, you can find a definition and discussion of the Healthy Brand and the criteria assigned to assess a brand’s health (Cook et al, 2010). Please see Reference List Page.

Cook et al (2010) put forward the notion of a healthy brand and the criteria to which it should adhere. According to Cook et al (2010), the construct of the healthy brand is one that discusses the notion of identity, communication authenticity and coherency, value, sustainability and the movement away from profit-focused and driven business practice.

It has been suggested, “consumer culture is the driving mechanism behind unsustainable practices,” and as a result, “no brand can be devoutly healthy.” It has been noted however, that a few brands have begun  “to integrate the wellbeing of all people, animals, and the planet at large into the design of their organisation (Cook et al, 2010).”

Traditional methods of brand health indication are considered rather “one dimensional” with an emphasis on financial success as a key indicator. Cook et al (2010) suggest, “brands and businesses cannot merely be islands of shareholder wealth creation when social and environmental issues threaten humanity.”  Through this, it is suggested that the focus of business can no longer remain in creating value and wealth for shareholders with vested financial interest in company. Instead, there is a movement toward a more socially minded and responsible model of business and business practice. (Cook et al, 2010).

The seven criteria of the healthy brand as suggested by Cook et al (2010) read as follows: a healthy brand has a “particular and meaningful purpose”; it is transparent and lives its purpose in all that it does; the healthy brand has a “distinctive identity”; it is “an engaging, authentic and coherent communicator”; the healthy brand adds “value to the lives of people”;  “builds sustainable relationships by never taking more than it gives” and views profit as a consequence of health, rather than a driver of business.

The healthy brand criteria arguably arrives in the wake of a new consumer approach and culture (Cook et al, 2010). Freedman (2006:16) suggests, “because the consumer is changing, communications are changing, so is the world.”  At present, “the marketing industry stands accused of fuelling rampant and unsustainable patterns of consumption,” (Kleanthous & Peck, n.d:6) The ‘new’ consumer is described as “more knowledgeable and reflexive about the previously accepted mechanics of branding,” (Holts, 2002:80). It is further said “a near crisis in confidence in the role of the modern corporation in society,” has become the branding-climate of the 21st Century  (Brugmann and Prahalad, 2007). Cook (n.d:2) proposes, “traditionally the purpose of business is to generate profit.” Kleanthous and Peck (n.d:6) note, “the way that people buy and consume products and services has profound implications for the future health and happiness of our species.”

The Healthy Brand criteria can be used as a means so assess the brand situation as well as to determine brand health. With the growth of a ‘new’ consumer mindset, we begin to see the necessity for tackling and understanding issues such as sustainability and accountability. In turn, the world is fast realising the massive impact that society is having in terms of the planet’s capacity to provide for us.


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